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UI and City High students react to Sally Mason’s claims
Students at City High react to UI President Sally Mason's allegations that rape is part of our nature.
March 3, 2014
March 3rd, 2014
University of Iowa students throughout the campus broke out in protest after UI President Sally Mason’s words about the University’s goal to eradicate sexual assaults, “I’m not pleased that we have sexual assaults, obviously. The goal would be to end that, to never have another sexual assault. That’s probably not a realistic goal just given human nature, and that’s unfortunate…”
Mason’s comments were prompted by the nine “timely warnings”, sexual assaults, that have been reported at the University of Iowa, marking an increase in reported assaults.
Some students at City High feel that these words affect them emotionally as severely as it did over 30 students who gathered on Monday on the Pentacrest for a rape and violence awareness rally, who protest for a zero-tolerance sexual assault policy.
“It’s a really stupid thing for her to say. I think that the need to assert power, which is what rape is all about, is in our nature, but that doesn’t mean we can excuse the behavior,” Ana Clemons ‘14 said. “Sally Mason needs to set a better example as such a powerful member of the community.”
Miranda Livingston ‘16 also recognizes power’s role in rape, but not in the way it is used to commit the act.
“The act of raping someone is not in our nature,” Livingston said. “Thinking of raping someone could be considered ‘part of our nature,’ but acting upon that thought is in no way okay, or in our nature. The act of raping another person is the rapist’s choice, not a ‘natural’ act.”
However, Livingston agrees with Mason’s claims that rape can never be eliminated from society.
“Sally Mason is probably right in saying that rape will most likely never end,” Livingston said. “When people get raped, they might be too scared to tell anyone, so there are many rapists out there who aren’t getting caught for what they’ve done.”
Elizabeth Rook is a spokesperson for notinmynature.com, a website that has close to 400 signatures and letters submitted to it addressing their petition to have zero tolerance for sexual assaults on campus.
The website came into being along with the rest of the UI student movement as a response to the rape culture on the campus, the victim blame and reactionary language in the “timely warning” emails received because of the Clery Act, and President Mason’s comments in the Daily Iowan on Feb 20th.
“We are please that the UI administration responded to our concerns so promptly,” Rook said. “We appreciate President Mason’s public apology on February 24th and we are grateful to Tom Rocklin for his willingness to meet with us and openness to student voices as having input in changing the way the University addresses the issue of sexual assault on campus.”
The movement is spreading through many mediums. Students and community members are invited to meet at noon on Mondays on the north east side of the Pentacrest to deliver letters to President Mason’s office every two minutes during the lunch hour. This is to commemorate the two minute frame between a sexual assault in the United States. Mason’s apology can be found in a video on the Press Citizen’s website.
“The letters serve as our voice to the University authorities, displaying solidarity with the victims, and will be accompanied by the Petition,” the website said.
In a “Listening Session” on February 27th at the IMU, Mason shared her own story. She revealed she had been sexually assaulted while in college, and she did not report it because she did not want her parents to remove her from college. Mason wanted to be independent, a possible reason for some unreported sexual assaults.
Participants are able to share their story on notinmynature.com. There is also facebook page and twitter account(@notinmynatureUI)-use the #notinmynature- devoted to the petition’s goal of zero tolerance.